What's on Tap...
A brew of marketing and advertising news for your insatiable knowledge palette

4 Ways to Tank Your Social Media Campaigns

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Thu, Jun 01, 2017 @ 04:11 PM

Reaching and engaging customers via the proliferation of social media channels has become a huge priority for most businesses. And yet many of these companies create and post pointless, promoted posts, sharing information none of their customers really cares about.

The result: wasted ad spend on campaigns that fail to cut through the digital noise and drive action.

How do companies tank their social media campaigns over and over again? By making one or more of the following mistakes:

  1. Having No Strategy

It’s said you can’t get to your destination without a roadmap. You can, as long as you don’t know where you’re going.Business man pointing to transparent board with text What's your Online Marketing Strategy?.jpeg

While you don’t have to plan out every single tweet or Facebook post verbatim, you DO have to plan what content and events you are going to create content around.

You also must do a bit of research to determine which channels are the right ones for your business. Despite what you may think, you do not have to have a presence on every single social media channel. Trying to maintain myriad SM accounts will spread your marketing team too thin and waste precious resources.

 

Instead, determine WHO your customers are and WHERE they choose to get their information. If you’re a B2B company, you may find you only need to be on LinkedIn to get excellent reach. Other companies may find Facebook and Google+ work well, while others Instagram and Youtube.

  1. Not Acting Like a Human Being

If you’ve been focused on traditional advertising channels like newspapers and TV ads, you may stumble a bit when first using social media. That’s because traditional advertising incorporates one-way messaging. You talk – they listen.

But social media is a digital conversation. This means you have to be the HUMAN behind the company and engage with your customers, not sell to them all of the time. This will entail listening to their problems and offering real help, or just offering a smile in the form of a funny photo.

With social media, you want to throw a party, invite all of your prospects, and then be the life of your own party.

  1. Not Bothering to Automate

You probably already know this, but it bears repeating: social media marketing isn’t something you do once a month. It’s definitely a commitment of time, and since so many small business owners have very little time, the best thing they can do is prepare a chunk of content ahead of time, then load it all up into a robust automation tool like Hootsuite or Buffer. A set-it-and-forget-it approach will help you be consistent with posting.

Just be sure to spend a little time each week (or assign the task to someone else) responding to comments and answering any customer questions that may pop up.

  1. Not Bothering to Measure

How do you know if your social media campaigns have been successful if you don’t measure them?

Besides reach, one of the other main benefits of social media is it can be predictably analyzed. SM can be easily broken down into analytical definitions like retweets, replies, mentions, and engagement.

It’s important to set some realistic metrics for your campaign (150 retweets) before you launch, then see if you were successful or not. If not, tweak and refine your content strategy and check to make sure you chose the right channels and right time of day to reach your audience.

Social media can be a great addition to an integrated campaign, but if you want this channel to work for you, you’ve got to read this post one more time to ensure you don’t make any of these common mistakes.

Topics: online, social media, online advertising, social media engagement, integrate print and digital, Twitter, Facebook

How Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Mar 03, 2015 @ 07:28 AM

We get this question a lot from clients and it’s a good one. If you’re spending money on certain campaigns and strategies, you need to know whether or not you’re getting a return on that investment. Sadly, many advertisers are spending and getting little in return from their digital campaigns.

According to ComScore research, between May and February of 2012, a whopping 54% of online display ads were never seen by a human being. And to be clear, “never seen” doesn’t mean they were displayed but ignored by people, never seen means actually never seen due to technical glitches, user habits or fraud.

How Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?eMarketer estimates that last year alone, $14 billion was spent on online display advertising. When you combine this fact with the fact that 54% of online ads are never seen by anyone, you suddenly realize billions of advertising dollars are going down the drain every year.

Technical Snafus and Fiendish Factors

As we mentioned, sometimes ads are not seen because of technical issues, like when ads are displayed on the part of a browser that’s not open on the user’s computer screen (say for instance when the ad is displayed on the bottom of the screen but the surfer never scrolls down). Other times ads may load so slowly that the surfer clicks off of the page before the ad ever has a chance to be seen.

And then there are the nefarious factors such as outright fraud by publishers. Oftentimes advertisers pay for “impressions” that are completely based on fake traffic. This happens when malicious software gives the impression a person is actually on a page and then ads are served up to fake visitors. In other scenarios, online display ads will show on several web pages, but those pages are hidden behind a window on a particular website that is the size of a pencil point.

What Can Marketers Do?

As with any form of advertising, there are no guarantees your online campaigns will be seen or drive traffic. This is why marketers must take a proactive approach in how they buy and monitor online ad campaigns so they have the best shot at significantly improving the percentage of impressions their ads receive.

Here are some ways you can help get your online ads seen:

Consider a Different PositionHow Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?

For many years, advertisers were under the impression (thank you) the best placement for their ads was the very top of the page. But, according to Google, the most viewable position for display ads is just “above the fold.” Above the fold is the part on the web page just at the break where part of the page is out of sight and requires scrolling.

This being said, be prepared to experiment with your ad placement because it is not the be-all-end-all indicator of your campaign’s success. Average viewability of above the fold ads is around 68%, whereas below the fold is 40%. Depending on your particular budget and if you are lucky enough to get a discount, you may find even below the fold your cost per exposure is good.

Choose the Right Size Ad

Google’s study also suggests vertical ads are on screen longer than horizontal ads and a 120x240 ad had the highest rate of viewability at 55.6%. So don’t put too much attention on grabbing up the most real estate. Ads that were 120x600 (bigger so you’d think better performing) had only a 52.5% viewability rate and a 468x60 had only a 48.2% rate.

How Do I Know My Online Ads Are Actually Being Seen?Create and Maintain a “Block” List

When you’re buying ads through ad exchanges, it’s really important to create and maintain a block list that includes websites with known viewability issues. The sites on this list are then excluded from all future ad buys. You may find a universal block list online that is maintained by other ad buyers to help industry peers avoid fraudulent transactions.

Employ Verification Partners

Verification partners offer “active avoidance,” meaning they monitor and help you avoid unsafe and unviewable environments. Partners report viewability metrics and brand safety metrics down to the site level, and any sites with active issues are dealt with accordingly.

Good Ol’ Human Involvement

Tying all these viewability solutions together is the human marketer with expertise who can deploy, monitor, and oversee campaign setup, block lists, and verification partners. There are many technologies that can help online campaigns traverse the shaky digital landscape, but none of these will ever outperform the individual’s ability to improve their odds of ad viewability.

As an advertiser, you should definitely want to know whether or not your online ads are being seen. The key to increasing your campaign’s viewability is to experiment with ad placement and size, maintain a block list, work with verification partners, and stay involved and on top of your own campaigns, or hire someone to do it for you.

Download the CMO's Guide to Media Buying

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Image credit: Joel NilssonLoveteamin

Topics: digital advertising, online advertising

Online Video Advertising Is On the Rise

Posted by Hannah Hill on Tue, Nov 05, 2013 @ 10:22 AM

The Interactive Advertising Bureau recently polled 5,000 U.S. advertising executives and found that 75% plan to modify their budgets and shift advertising dollars from television to digital video ads in the next 12 months. Whether they plan to purchase pre-roll advertising from sites like Hulu or invest in a 15-second video ad on Facebook (which happens to run for as much as $2.5 million per day), advertisers are looking to online video advertising to provide a sizable return.

The number of people watching online video is on the up and up which explains why online video advertising is on the rise. A new survey by the New York Times found that 34% of Millennials watch more online video than TV. As a Millennial myself, I watch about one hour of live television per week. This isn’t because I’m anti-TV. Did you catch the post about my realty TV addiction? I’m in an evening MBA program, so I spend the majority of “primetime” in class or working on homework (it’s okay to be jealous). I rely on Hulu to help me catch up on the weekend, so I’m exposed to my fair share of online video ads.

Online Video Advertising Is On the Rise

Online video advertising offers more opportunities for advertisers to interact with viewers. Which ad experience would you prefer? If that question sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because you regularly watch online video, or you’re the guy who does the voiceover in the recording. When I get to decide which ad I have to watch, it’s more likely the product or service featured in that video ad will be relevant to me. The greater the relevance, the greater the likelihood I will make a purchase. When given the option to view multiple ads throughout a program or watch one longer ad before the show begins, my husband and I always choose the latter. That way we can watch Scandal sans interruptions. Also, the ability to swap out an ad for Online Video Advertising Is On the Riseanother is appealing, especially when the same Walgreens ad is shown during every commercial break. Giving viewers the opportunity to choose when and what type of video advertising they want to see can increase the effectiveness of the ad itself.

The New York Times survey also found that of those who watch videos online, 84% watched the same or more online video than last year. Since online viewing is becoming a habit, especially for Millennials, advertisers are shelling out more dollars to online video advertising. According to the IAB, digital video revenue was up 24% during the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period last year. “Digital video is on a positive trajectory, delivering avid viewership and strong brand-building opportunities,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB.

The percentage of online video ads played in their entirety has risen despite an increase in the number of ads per program. Up to 93% of longform video ads run to completion; however, advertisers are looking for more. They want metrics related to viewership and exposure. I’mOnline Video Advertising Is On the Rise willing to bet I’m not the only one who navigates to Pinterest during the longer ad breaks. “For four minutes of ads, you can make a sandwich and come back. For 60 seconds, there's not much you can do,” said Jonah Goodhart, CEO and co-founder of Moat, a company that measures online engagement. Goodhart’s right. The shorter the commercial break, the more likely viewers will be to watch the ads. Advertisers need to continually work to engage viewers through online video advertising to prevent them from pressing mute or leaving the room.

As you can see, online video advertising isn’t going anywhere but up, so now is a good time to start thinking about how much of your budget should be devoted to online video advertising in 2014. Download ‘The Smart Marketer’s Guide to Local Digital Advertising’ to learn the benefits of local digital advertising and how it can be beneficial to your business.

Download  The Smart Marketer's Guide to Local Digital Advertising

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Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.

Topics: online advertising, video advertising, online video advertising, pre-roll video advertising

The Importance of Digital Advertising at the Zero Moment of Truth

Posted by Hannah Hill on Tue, Sep 03, 2013 @ 12:37 PM

Google uses the term Zero Moment of Truth to define the moment when you grab your laptop, mobile phone, tablet or other device to learn more about a product or service before deciding whether or not to make a purchase. In that moment (or moments) of truth, you consult product reviews, ratings, company websites and social media to learn as much as you can about a product in an effort to make the most educated purchasing decision.

The Importance of Digital Advertising at the Zero Moment of Truth

Here’s what Google has to say about the Zero Moment of Truth:

"Whether we're shopping for corn flakes, concert tickets or a honeymoon in Paris, the Internet has changed how we decide what to buy. At Google, we call this online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth -- or simply ZMOT."

The full ZMOT eBook is 75 pages long, so I’m just going to share a few nuggets in this blog post. It’s a great read, though, so if you are looking for something to do this weekend, download the eBook.

“Online decision-making is skyrocketing; online marketing budgets aren’t”
Today millions of consumers consult online sources like websites, social media and consumer reports prior to even visiting a store to physically look at a product. That number is growing each day. Surprisingly, the dollars being spent on online marketing and advertising are weak in comparison. If you are an advertiser it makes sense now more than ever to get in front of consumers somehow, some way before they set foot in your store, otherwise it will be too late. According to the ZMOT eBook, 62% of shoppers say they search for deals online before at least half of their shopping trips. Just yesterday I was shopping online for a gift for a friend and before I clicked the “checkout” button, I searched for discount codes and coupons for free shipping. Here’s another fun fact: 70% of Americans admit to reading product reviews before making a purchase. I recently purchased a new pair of running shoes and that process was a workout in itself. I consulted Runner’s World’s Shoe Finder, performed several Google searches and visited various retailer websites to read product reviews. All of this for one pair of shoes. Then I grabbed a coupon and drove to the store to make my purchase. If your products aren’t visible in online search, then you are missing out on a significant chunk of the market. Reconsider your online marketing budget to ramp up your online presence and gain visibility at the Zero Moment of Truth.

“Today’s shoppers carry access in their pockets”
We’ve all heard the expression “you have the world at your fingertips,” and with that access comes endless amounts of information. With just the click of a button or the touch of a screen, today’s shoppers can learn everything they want to know (and more) before shellingThe Importance of Digital Advertising at the Zero Moment of Truth out their dollars for the latest and greatest product or service. “If you’re available at the Zero Moment of Truth, your customers will find you at the very moment they’re thinking about buying, and also when they’re thinking about thinking about buying.” The latter is key. If your phone is not physically on your person right now, I’d be willing to bet it’s within reach. I’d also be willing to bet you consult your phone (or some other digital device) at some point during your decision-making process. Maybe you pose a question to your social media followers to learn who in your network has valuable consumer information about the product in question. One of my Facebook friends did that recently and received a whole boatload of data from her connections that influenced her purchasing decision. Word-of-mouth marketing has never been more powerful than it is today, especially since it can reach the masses, thanks to the Internet. Make sure your brand has an online presence to encourage engagement and influence consumers at the ZMOT.

That’s the ZMOT eBook in a very small nutshell. Remember, you can download the eBook to get the full scoop. As consumers continue to turn to their digital devices to research and learn more about products, digital advertising continues to be relevant for companies looking to make a profit. Check out our free eBook on the benefits of local digital advertising. Click to download The Smart Marketer’s Guide to Local Digital Advertising and learn the benefits of advertising locally and how local advertising can affect the Zero Moment of Truth.

Download  The Smart Marketer's Guide to Local Digital Advertising

Image credit: zeromomentoftruth.com and HubSpot

Hannah Hill is a marketing specialist at Mediaspace Solutions. Her marketing experience includes writing, inbound marketing, social media and event management. You can connect with Hannah on LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+.

Topics: digital advertising, online advertising, zero moment of truth, ZMOT

The One Online Spending Trend You Need to Pay Attention to

Posted by Scott Olson on Thu, Aug 02, 2012 @ 02:33 PM

buy now buttonIt’s been well documented that since the beginning of the Internet, marketers and advertisers have used the platform for direct response advertising. The thought here is ‘People are online. They have their credit cards. If I can get them to click-through to my landing page and make the sale that’s all I need.’ So marketing groups and copy writers create and edit and change and test dozens or even hundreds of calls to action, along with different color buttons, images, page placements and the like in order to ‘get that click.’ But that doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, the only thing advertisers are tracking to judge effectiveness.

A recent study from Vizu and Digiday shows more and more advertisers are looking at the online space and increasing branding budgets. The expectation, according to the study, is that branding spend will actually exceed direct response spend for the first time since Google’s IPO in 2004.

The study was comprised of 450 digital marketing and media professionals. Some of the most interesting outcomes were:

  • 64 percent of marketers plan to increase their online brand advertising budgets in 2012, with 22 percent planning increases greater than 20 percent
  • 69 percent of brand marketers are increasing spending in mobile, 63 percent in social, and 57 percent in video
  • 60 percent of marketers indicated they planned to move dollars away from direct response to brand advertising initiatives

There are two takeaways from this information. The first is that brand advertising is finally starting to become a focus for advertisers looking to hit the online audience. The second is that although brand marketers are recognizing the opportunities in digital, they’re spreading that out across mobile, social and video. What that says is while they recognize the opportunity, they’re still not sure how to seize it, so they need to throw budgets at a variety of channels and see what sticks.

With this increase in brand marketing online, does that mean direct response has lost its luster? No way. It’s all about product, target and intent. Direct response advertising online can still be very effective, especially with all the additional data available online. With the greater ability to target digital audiences, direct response advertisers can find and reach the people whose lives will be improved by purchasing their product.

Recently Mediaspace ran a test with a direct response advertiser looking to dip their toes in the digital water. Results exceeded expectations, and that’s putting it mildly. But it’s a product that makes sense for direct response, in multiple media, and it’s working.

How are you changing your budgets? Let us know if you think branding marketers should ride the wave and spend more in the online space.

Topics: advertising, online advertising, direct response